Teacher reports of children's emotion regulation: Is there concordance with trained observers?
Type of DegreeThesis
DepartmentHuman Development and Family Studies
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The purpose of this study was to examine agreement between observers and teachers on ratings of individual children’s emotional regulation and social competence. This study examined agreement between teacher-observer pairs as a function of the domain of emotion regulation being examined (internalizing or externalizing) and as a function of teacher characteristics (education, experience, emotion beliefs, and training). Teachers and trained observers rated the emotion regulation and social competence of 324 children, 179 boys and 145 girls, using the Socio-affective Profile. Teachers also completed a set of questionnaires about their education, years teaching, continuing education classes, and beliefs about dealing with young children’s emotions. Correlations and regression analyses were used to examine concordance between teachers and observers. Although teachers and observers agreed modestly to moderately about individual children’s internalizing, externalizing, and social competence, within-informant cross-construct correlations were often higher than cross-informant within-construct correlations, indicating only limited support for construct validity. Teacher characteristics influenced ratings assigned by both teachers and observers. Observers viewed children of teachers with more education as being more socially competent; children of teachers with less training were seen as having more externalizing problems; children of teachers with more experience were seen as having more internalizing problems; and children of teachers with more developmentally appropriate emotion beliefs were seen as having fewer internalizing problems. Teachers with more experience and teachers with more training rated children as having more internalizing problems; teachers with more appropriate emotion beliefs rated their children as having fewer internalizing problems. Both domain of emotion regulation being evaluated and teacher characteristics affected teacher and observer concordance on ratings of children’s emotion regulation. Teachers and observers were in stronger agreement about externalizing than about internalizing. Teachers with more developmentally appropriate emotion beliefs agreed more highly with observers about children’s social competence. Teachers with less experience and teachers with less training were in higher agreement with observers about children’s externalizing. Results suggest that teachers may see social competence as the absence of externalizing behavior and that internalizing is more difficult for preschool teachers to rate than externalizing. Training may help teachers better identify internalizing.